Workshops / Theatre of the Funny Creation School

May 27 to Jun 07, 2024
All day event

Cost $1495


Spymonkey is offering their intensive two-week Theatre of The Funny Creation School for the first time in LA. The course is aimed at emerging and professional performers who would like to build on their clown and physical comedy work, and who want to take it to the next level of production and performance. It will be led by Spymonkey Artistic Directors, Aitor Basauri and Toby Park.

Spymonkey aims to build a strong ensemble dynamic, to encourage participants to go further and deeper into the work to explore new areas of comedic investigation; to inspire and initiate new creative material, and examine how then to work on that new material to move towards performance; to develop participants’ experience of writing, directing and designing for clown and comedy work; and to nurture new performing partnerships that we hope will go on to flourish into the full glory of performance!

Spymoney believes that we have learnt the most about performing by embracing the challenge and discipline of working towards a performance. So they will use this as an impetus to creativity, by working towards a presentation of new work generated in the Theatre of the Funny Creation School, for an invited audience, on the last day of the workshop. This showcase will be held at Elysian as well. 

The course is aimed at emerging and professional performers of intermediate and advanced levels of experience, 18+. Previous participation in a Spymonkey course will be an advantage but is not a requirement of the course.

Aitor and Toby will lead the course together, giving practical tools for making physical comedy work in a range of performance contexts: theatre, cabaret, variety, musical comedy acts, circus, dance.


The first week of class will be dedicated to establishing a Spymonkey Theatre of the Funny vocabulary, ensemble building and the exploration of games, play, and failure: glorious failure, painful failure, messy failure, risky failure, tearful failure, hilarious failure, and big, huge flop failure.

In the mornings of week 2, they will continue to explore techniques for creating Theatre of the Funny, including elements of melodrama (the pleasure of great acting), Bouffon (the pleasure of parody and the grotesque), physical theatre (the pleasure of physical impulse and movement qualities) and musicality (the pleasure of singing and making music together).

In the afternoons of week 2, the ensemble will begin to devise short clown and comedic pieces. Spymonkey will direct the pieces, and lead each performer through the process of developing work, leading up to the invited sharing on the last day of the workshop. There will be time set aside for this devising work in small groups, guided by Aitor and Toby. Each actor will uncover their own personal process and should leave this phase of the workshop with a foundation for creating comedic material, plus a rich arsenal of material that has the potential to continue to develop as well as a group of generous collaborators. 


Please follow the link to the form to express your interest in this workshop. You will be notified no later than April 15th.

Workshops will be held at The Elysian Theater, Skunk Room, 1944 Riverside Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90039. The dates and times of the workshop are Monday-Friday, May 27-June 7th daily, from 1030a-430p (till 530p week 2). A public showing will happen on June 7th 4p-6p at the Elysian. 

Cost: $1495, Payment due in full by May 15th, with $500 deposit due by May 1st.

Questions? Contact us at

In keeping with our mission we are especially committed to providing paths of access for practitioners of color, trans theatre-makers, and those from backgrounds not typically represented in the field.


Deadline: Nov 30, -0001

Bursary applications are now Open.

Click here to apply!

For more information about our bursaries, please click here.

Course Leaders

Aitor Basauri

Joint Artistic Director & Performer

Founder, co-creator and performer of all Spymonkey shows to date. Performed in The Servant of Two Masters at Sheffield Crucible (1996), Axomate at the Seville Expo (1992), Eulenspiegel (1991) and in Karl’s Kuhne Gassenchau’s Grand Paradis and Stau in Zurich (1997 and 1998). Director of Little Prince for Donkey Productions (1997), Un Vento Impetuoso for La Canoppia (1996) and Meci Y Me Fui for Pez Enraya ( 1997). In 1999 he appeared in Circus Knie, the Swiss State Circus, and in 2000 formed his own company Punto Fijo, based in Bilbao. Appeared in Cirque Images’ 2003 series Solstrom for Bravo Cable Network. Appeared in Bertold Brecht’s Senor Carrera’s Rifles at the Young Vic, directed by Paul Hunter (2007).

Directing credits include: ‘Lily & Marlene’ for La Dinamica (Spain 2015); ’Looking for Duende’ for Teatro Entre Escombros (Spain 2015); ’Hondycops’ for Squadra Sua (Czech Republic 2015); ’Ferucchio Peru is Extraordinaire’ for Leebo Luby (UK 2015); Manifest Destiny (New York 2015); Fabulous Bäckström Brothers (Finland 2014); Entre Escobros ‘600 Teatro’ (Spain 2014); ‘Gloriator’ for Skipstick Productions (London 2013); ‘NMIIDP’ Simone Riccio, (London 2013); ‘Herr Ist Immer Der Natur’ for Die Drei Auf Den Baum (Berlin 2012); ‘Discombobulated’ for Publick Transport (Bristol & UK tour, 2011); ‘Ramshackadelicious’ (Bristol 2011); ‘Shake’ for The Last Baguette (Switzerland 2010). Director of physical comedy for Chichester Festival Theatre’s ‘Mack & Mabel’ (2015) starring Michael Ball. Co-director of Orpheus in the Underworld at Vienna Volksoper operahouse which opens in 2023.

Aitor is an acclaimed teacher of clown, regularly holding Spymonkey masterclasses in London, New York, Berlin, Los Angeles and around the world, and for the Clown Doctors organisation in Germany, Austria and France.

Toby Park

Managing Artistic Director & Performer

Has performed and co-created all Spymonkey shows to date. Studied Drama at Hull University, and trained at Fool Time Circus School, Bristol, and with Philippe Gaulier and Monika Pagneaux in Paris. From 1994-97 he was co-musical director and actor with Karl’s Kuhne Gassenchau in Zurich; member of the Improbable Theatre Lifegame company (1998-2000) including an off-Broadway run. Musical director and composer for: Guy Dartnell’s Would Say Something (1998); acro-dance-theatre Mimbre’s Sprung (2001), Trip-Tic (2003) and The Bridge (2007); site-specific pieces with Graeme Gilmour at Kielder Water Northumberland (2006) and Forth & Clyde Canal Glasgow (2007), and with Phil Supple/The Electric Estate for the National Trust at Cragside Northumberland. Appeared with Petra in Sandi Toksvig’s Christmas Cracker starring Ronnie Corbett at the Royal Festival Hall (2009). TV appearances include Cirque Images’ 2003 series Solstrom for Bravo Cable Network and BBC2 Hyperdrive.

Director of Fabulous Bäckström Brothers, a clown opera in Helsinki (2014), and Big Bang Siegfried with Hagen Philharmonic Germany (2016), Enter The Dragons for A&E Comedy (2017). Director of physical comedy for Chichester Festival Theatre’s Mack & Mabel (2015), RSC’s Merry Wives of Windsor (2018) and Tartuffe (2019) and Jack Absolute Flies Again (2022), both for National Theatre. Co-director of Orpheus in the Underworld at Vienna Volksoper operahouse opening 2023.